Home > Uncategorized > Talking to Yanis Varoufakis on Slate Money this week

Talking to Yanis Varoufakis on Slate Money this week

April 27, 2016

Dearest Readers,

Yanis Varoufakis, economist and former Finance Minister of Greece, is currently on a book tour promoting his new book, And the Weak Suffer What They Must? Europe’s crisis, America’s economic future. I’m busy reading it right now.

Why am I telling you this? Because the super exciting news is that he’ll be a guest this week on Slate Money, which means I get to ask him questions.

So, we’ll likely talk about his book, but also timely issues like the situation in Puerto Rico, Brexit, and of course the Greek economy.

Important Confession: I have a celebrity crush on Yanis. And given that, I’m wondering if anyone a bit more level-headed would like to come up with smart questions I should ask him.



p.s. I think Yanis will be in a recording studio in Chicago, so it’s not like I’m going to swoon in person.



Here’s Yanis killing it with a crazy shirt in the Greek parliament.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. April 27, 2016 at 7:29 am

    This is not answering your question, but I went to a great talk he gave in Cambridge and got to meet him afterwards. He is indeed pretty charismatic.


  2. April 27, 2016 at 7:46 am

    Lucky! I’d love to ask him how he thinks we could get Germany to reverse its trade surplus in order to stimulate the economies of its fellow EU members.


    • April 27, 2016 at 8:44 am

      I’d also love to hear about his time working for Steam.


      • allenknutson
        April 27, 2016 at 6:36 pm

        Another vote for asking about Steam somehow, e.g., what lessons did he learn from that job that he’s applying in the current one.


  3. April 27, 2016 at 8:26 am

    Looking forward to it!… no very specific question, but in general would like to hear about the ‘logic’ and effects of negative interest rates being adopted in some European domains.


  4. April 27, 2016 at 9:20 am

    Would like to know where to find the shirt!


    • April 27, 2016 at 9:25 am

      Already on the list, obv.


      • April 27, 2016 at 11:14 am

        I spent 30 min searching for it this morning with no luck. So disappointed in the internet today 😦


  5. Gordon.
    April 27, 2016 at 10:29 am

    Does he see any contradiction between Germany’s infusion of a moral dimension into fiscal discussions, and the benefits that it has enjoyed from having a currency that’s cheaper than its own economic fundamentals would merit, by virtue of its association with weaker economies via the Euro?

    Given that most currency unions entail internal fiscal transfers to account for regional variations in economic performance, does he think that Germany’s insistence on lending rather than granting funds is morally defensible?

    Also, where did he get that shirt?


    • April 27, 2016 at 10:42 am

      That’s pretty much what his book is about. Except for the shirt, he’s keeping that info close to his chest. Har Har.


  6. Aaron Lercher
    April 27, 2016 at 11:35 am

    Please ask him about the secret plan for switching currencies during a possible Greek exit from the Euro zone. Apparently the idea was to use tax accounts as a basis for issuing some form of script, until new drachmas could be issued.

    What really was the “Plan B”? Was this the entire plan or were there other parts? Did Varoufakis feel confident or desperate about it at the time? What does he think now about this plan?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Auros
      April 28, 2016 at 2:57 am

      Yes, this is more or less what I was going to ask about. I remain incredulous that he was, to all appearances, shoved out when it was discovered that he was working on a plan for Grexit, when, given his job, it would have been horrendously irresponsible to NOT at least be thinking about how that could be handled if the government as a whole decided on that route.

      I also would be curious to know whether he thinks Grexit would have been (and/or would still be) a good idea, given how inflexible the rest of Europe has been about making the Euro workable for countries like Greece / Spain / Ireland.


      • Aaron Lercher
        April 28, 2016 at 11:14 am

        Tsipras defended Varoufakis’s actions in drawing up the plan, which must have had Tsipras’s approval anyway.
        Varoufakis’s resignation was a concession to the creditors, but that does not mean Tsipras disapproved of what he did.

        From the linked Guardian article, you can see that Varoufakis was wearing that exact shirt while Tsipras defended the secret plan.

        Tsipras defended Varoufakis’s shirt as well:
        “You can blame him all you want for his comments, for his political plans, for his bad taste in shirts, for his holidays on the island of Aegina. But you can’t say that he is a crook, you can’t say that he stole the money of the Greek people, you can’t say that he had a secret plan to lead the country on to the rocks.”

        I guess the shirt signals, “What a relief that I’ve resigned from the Ministry.”


  7. April 27, 2016 at 3:09 pm

    Ask him if he’s still consulting for Valve 🙂


  8. Steven Cecchini
    April 27, 2016 at 6:47 pm

    Ask him if crediting a Social security account with the amount of interest due on any loan made by any bank to any US business or citizen would help free us from the tyranny of depending upon the next lender to make the next loan in order to have available the cash needed to repay earlier loans.
    Ex: bank lends me 100,000, and expects 120,000 repaid. I get 100,000 and spend it into the economy and we all feel flush with cash and over the course of ten years I work hard and pay it back until we all feel a bit less flush. 20,000 gets deposited into SSI and I work for some old guys and girls and earn the money to repay my loan in full. I am not dependent upon a banks ability to lend the 20,000 into the economy so I can repay it, just on my own industry to earn it from an old guy.
    I understand this would be the end of adjustable rate loans.
    Banks are supposed to good at what they do, this will test them.


  9. Steven Cecchini
    April 27, 2016 at 6:48 pm

    Ask him about public banks.


  10. rumplestatskin
    April 27, 2016 at 7:09 pm

    What’s the best case resolution of the EU economic/humanitarian crisis vs the worst case?
    How can politicians get away with so many lies so routinely? Why are people punished for speaking the truth?

    Does economics even matter any more given the political situation in Europe?


  11. rob
    April 27, 2016 at 7:16 pm

    I’d ask him how he replies to the far left, including the Greek left, who feel that Tsipras abandoned his mandate by not leaving the Eurozone. (I think the left is irrational on this, however betrayed they feel, but now they view SYRIZA as nothing but predictably bourgeois milquetoast liberals, which is discouraging.) I’m also wondering how pessimistic he is, given the famous quote of his title and the history. How long before Greece and Europe rebound and what conditions must be met? What happens if the Brits leave? Will refugees help the European economies or hinder them or both in different sectors or times? Does it depend on popular politics?


  12. kodlu
    April 27, 2016 at 9:15 pm

    Ask him how he failed so miserably in negotiations, even though he is a game theory expert.


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